A jalapeño popper is like the world’s perfect appetizer… In one bite, it’s simultaneously crunchy, creamy, and a little spicy. So why not make an entire meal out of it? That’s exactly what we set out to do, and I dare say that we more than succeeded with this easy-to-make casserole. It still has that creamy-fiery flavor combo you’d expect from your favorite spicy starter, but we’ve rounded it out with some chicken, cheese, and crispy bacon to really fill you up.
Since it starts with three cups of cooked chicken, this is one of those casseroles that’s a great use for leftover rotisserie. It doesn’t rely on any starches to bulk it up, which makes it naturally low-carb and keto-friendly and gluten-free. It also means that there’s a whole lot of room for creaminess.
The chicken itself is mixed with sour cream, and then topped with a mixture of milk and cream cheese that nestles down into every nook and cranny of the chicken as it bakes. That’s topped with entire jalapeño halves, but the creaminess beneath tames them. If that still feels like it’s going to be more spice than you can handle, you can always opt for a pickled variety as they tend to have less heat.
Grated cheddar goes over the whole shebang (because what would a casserole be without cheese?) along with some crispy bacon for good measure. The bacon brings in some of the crunch that you’d get from a deep-fried popper but it also does what bacon does best with its singular smoky, savory flavor.
Jalapeño Popper Chicken Casserole
35 minutes to prepare serves 4-6
- 3 cups chicken, cooked and shredded
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup milk
- 6 jalapeño peppers, halved and stems and seeds removed
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 4-6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
- In a medium bowl, stir together shredded chicken, sour cream, garlic powder, paprika, and salt. Spread into prepared baking dish.
- In the same bowl, whisk together the cream cheese and milk until smooth. Spread over shredded chicken.
- Arrange the halved jalapeño peppers across the cream cheese layer. Top with cheddar cheese.
- Bake until hot and bubbly, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with bacon and return to oven for 5 minutes.
- Let sit 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Eat Well 101.